SE Asia Stocks-Singapore falls on weak economic data
By Rushil Dutta July 25 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets finished higher on Monday except Singapore, which posted losses after the city-state's headline consumer price index fell in June on a year-on-year basis, down for the 20th consecutive month. The all-items consumer price index (CPI) in June fell 0.7 percent from a year earlier, after dropping 1.6 percent in May. The median forecast in a Reuters survey was for a decline of 1.1 percent in June. Singapore's economic growth remains sluggish, and its performance in the second half of this year will not be too different from the first half, Ravi Menon, managing director, Monetary Authority of Singapore, said at a news conference on Monday. Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 0.5 percent, dragged down by consumer goods and consumer services stocks. Taxi and car rental group Comfortdelgro Corp and Capitaland Mall Trust were among the biggest losers on the index. Meanwhile, other Southeast Asian markets posted meagre gains, ahead of a two-day U.S. Federal Reserve meeting starting on Tuesday in which the Fed is expected to hold interest rates. According to a Reuters poll, the U.S. Federal Reserve will wait until the fourth quarter before raising the interest rates, likely in December after the presidential election. The Bank of Japan is expected to ease policy later this month, according to a majority of economists polled by Reuters, who said a combination of measures would be used in another attempt to boost anaemic inflation. Philippine shares closed up 0.3 percent, led by financials and consumer cyclicals. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co and Bank of the Philippine Islands gained 1.1 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively. Stocks rose more than 1 percent earlier during the session as investors looked forward to President Rodrigo Duterte's first public address since his appointment. Duterte, who became the 16th president of the Philippines on May 30, vowed to push for several economic reforms to support the economy, including easing tax rules, streamlining investment applications, and relaxing the secrecy law on bank deposits. Malaysian stocks gained 0.7 percent, driven by consumer cyclicals and financial stocks. Malayan Banking Bhd and Hong Leong Bank Bhd were 0.9 percent and 1.5 percent higher, respectively. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Previous Pct Move Close Singapore 2929.85 2945.35 -0.53 Bangkok 1512.66 1509.13 0.23 Manila 8049.13 8025.35 0.30 Jakarta 5220.802 5197.251 0.45 Kuala Lumpur 1668.26 1657.42 0.65 Ho Chi Minh 649.3 649.87 -0.09 Change on year Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2929.85 2882.73 1.63 Bangkok 1512.66 1288.02 17.44 Manila 8049.13 6952.08 15.78 Jakarta 5220.802 4593.008 13.67 Kuala Lumpur 1668.26 1692.51 -1.43 Ho Chi Minh 649.3 579.03 12.14 (Reporting by Rushil Dutta; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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